The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-56 [Active (Synthesis)]

Use of Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) and Vehicle Health Monitoring/Diagnostic Systems by Transit Agencies

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: AECOM Technical Services, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Victor Zhong
Effective Date: 3/8/2023
Completion Date: 9/9/2024
Fiscal Year: 2022

Tentative Scope



Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) is a vehicle health diagnostic system that integrates the monitoring of an array of on-board components in order to assist in the early identification of potential mechanical problems and thus support effective maintenance. These are also sometimes referred to as multiplex vehicle health monitoring systems.

Sensors monitor the performance of various engine and vehicle components and systems. This functionality takes on different forms and levels of sophistication or integration:

       An integrated comprehensive AVM monitoring, diagnostic, and reporting system that is built into the maintenance system. AVM may be fully integrated with the on-based CAD/AVL system, or a stand-alone system.

       Vehicle engine and component suppliers provide their own independent diagnostic systems used by maintenance departments.

       A limited number of engine sensors integrated into the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system that only provide real-time alarms of faults or critical failures (e.g., temperature, pressure, etc.).


AVM can be used to identify likely mechanical failures and make maintenance more accurate or efficient. The monitoring systems provide an itemized report of all vehicle faults, allowing the maintenance department to prioritize repairs. Early identification of faults on a daily basis through expanded onboard monitoring allows the agency to respond more quickly with preventive maintenance (PM) action, which typically would not take place until the next scheduled PM interval or after a sudden breakdown occurred. The system allows direct assignment of personnel to required repair actions, thereby eliminating major costs associated with diagnostic time.

Synthesis Objective:


This synthesis will document the current use and benefits of using AVM as part of enhanced data-driven bus maintenance practice.

Information To Be Gathered (Not an exhaustive list):


       What is the extent of use of comprehensive AVM or vehicle health monitoring systems in the transit industry?

       Are these systems integrated into the AVL/ITS platform, or are they stand-alone? What are the perceived benefits of each alternative?

       How many transit systems rely solely on the diagnostic systems provided by individual component suppliers, as opposed to using comprehensive AVM systems as part of their maintenance?

       How have AVM systems changed maintenance procedures where they have been deployed?

       If AVM systems are not utilized what maintenance procedures are followed by the agencies?


How the Information Will be Gathered:


       a literature review (e.g. agency reports, peer reviewed journal articles, web articles, agency websites) that will include description of all the technologies available);

       a survey on a broad range of North American transit agencies (diverse in terms of   geography, socioeconomics, size, and all types of vehicles in transit revenue service); and,

       At least five case examples that will gather information on the practices, challenges and successes


TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: TBD
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: TBD

Topic Panel 



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